Each of us, whether we realize it or not, long for a king. Like the Israelites before us, our hearts cry out for a king, for someone to lead us, for someone to provide and protect us, for someone to entrust ourselves to who is fully trustworthy and capable. Jesus is that King. Prior to his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Jesus' teaching, authority and power have revealed his true identity. He is the Messiah, God's anointed One. And He has come to rescue sinners by becoming a crucified King.
Palm Sunday is the day when traditionally the church recognizes the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem for the last week of his life before his crucifixion. Jesus intentionally chose to enter Jerusalem according to the prophecy of Zechariah. And in doing so, He was welcomed as King. Yet, crucified just days later. The people of Jerusalem failed to receive the presence of God in their midst and rejected Jesus' terms of peace. And as a result, suffered terrible judgment. Their judgment stands as a warning for us. May we instead receive Christ and accept his terms of peace that lead to life.
Upon his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus is simultaneously celebrated and misunderstood. Many thought Jesus would come and overturn the Roman rule or shake up Judaism's leadership. But Jesus' coming to Jerusalem was for a far greater purpose. The incarnation and sacrifice of Christ was about to fulfill it's purpose, to bring glory to God through the redemption of sinners. Jesus came to Jerusalem to establish a new Kingdom by overthrowing sin and death.
Jesus proclaimed to his disciples repeatedly that he would go to Jerusalem and there be betrayed, handed over and killed, only to take up his life again on the 3rd day. As he enters Jerusalem, his disciples and the crowds celebrate his arrival. They rejoice for the miracles they have seen. But they are a fickle hearted bunch and will later shout not praises but insults. Jesus speaks to their failure to understand the magnitude of what is happening and the purpose for which He came.
In Matthew 21:-17, Jesus enters Jerusalem as King, fulfilling all that the prophets foretold. He is the long awaited Son of David who declares his Kingship through healing, cleansing the temple and the fulfillment of prophecy. His Kingship is unlike any other.